Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Department of Posts will start hobby centres in 818 Head Post Offices in the country on January 26 to popularise stamp collection among schoolchildren, K. Noorjehan, Postal Services Board Member (Operations and Marketing), said on Sunday.

Speaking at the valedictory function of the India National Philatelic Exhibition-2008 (INPEX) here, she said the centres would be similar to the Nehru Philatelic Centre. The Department would seek the help of philatelists to enrol at least 10 schools in a region, and about 100 students would be selected from a school, and they would be asked to open a philatelic deposit account in the post office.

“There are 92 Head Post Offices, and we hope at least 9,200 savings accounts can be opened in Tamil Nadu. Though it is mandatory to have a minimum balance of Rs. 200 per account, the children can open the account with Rs. 100, while we will provide materials worth Rs. 100 as a bonus. We will request philatelists to conduct workshops regularly. Besides, we will have an interactive page on our website to cater to the specific needs of philatelists,” Ms. Noorjehan said.

She said 48 new stamps would be issued during 2008. There was a tremendous pressure from different parts of the country to release stamps in memory of prominent leaders. That was why stamps on flora and fauna could not be issued regularly.

Kanimozhi, MP, appreciated the efforts that went into organising the show.

Western Region Postmaster-General K.V. Sundar Rajan released a special cover on information yechnology, handing it over to Indian Bank Chairman and Managing Director M.S. Sundara Rajan.

A book on ‘Modern trends in Philately’ was released, and awards were given away to 281 participants.